PHILADELPHIA – Two teams tied at 1-0 in the Ivy League standings early on in 2014’s Ancient Eight slate are set to do battle on Saturday as No. 13 Penn (3-1, 1-0 Ivy) heads to New Haven to take on Yale (5-0, 1-0 Ivy) at 1 p.m.
The Quakers are 48-2 in their last 50 Ivy games dating back to the 2007 season when the Quakers began their run of seven consecutive Ivy championships. Last weekend, Penn hosted Harvard at Franklin Field and contained the Crimson, 9-4. That win was part of a 2-0 week for the Red and Blue, a defensive domination which featured seven combined goals allowed by Penn’s defense.
As has been the theme with Karin Corbett teams during her 14-plus years at the helm of the Quakers, the Red and Blue are among the nation’s top defensive teams. As a team, Penn is 10th in the nation in scoring defense while allowing 7.0 goals-per-game. In terms of caused turnovers, the Quakers are ninth among all Division I programs, causing 11.5 per game.
Individually, returning All-Region selection and unanimous first-team All-Ivy choice Meg Markham has continued to exert herself as one of the country’s top shutdown defenders as she leads the nation in ground balls-per-game at 4.5 and is sixth in caused turnovers with 275 per game. This past week, she had 14 ground balls and seven caused turnovers during Penn’s two wins to earn a share of Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Markham shared the award with teammate Lucy Ferguson – the first time in Ivy history that two teammates shared the same weekly award. Ferguson was the last line of a staunch defense for the Quakers, making 14 saves during the two games (nine against Harvard) and allowing just seven goals. During her two seasons with the Quakers, Ferguson has played in 21 games and has allowed nine or fewer goals in 12 of those starts. Nationally, Ferguson’s 7.00 GAA is 15th while her .517 save percentage is 18th.
Tory Bensen leads Penn’s offense with 11 goals scored this season and is sixth in the Ivy League with that number. Last weekend, she recorded her 50th career goal, most among active players. Her 14 overall points rank her ninth in the Ivy League, the only Penn player in the top-25.
Nine different players have scored at least one goal for the Red and Blue this season, with Lely DeSimone’s five ranking second on the team. Sarah Barcia, Nina Corcoran and Lindsey Smith each have four goals, Barcia netting three of those last time out against Harvard.
With the Ivy League’s top team ranking in terms of caused turnovers and ground balls, Penn also boasts the expected individual leaders. In addition to Markham’s top mark on ground balls and second0leading caused turnover output, the Red and Blue have two others in the top-10 of caused turnovers – Allie Martin (1.75) and Lindsey Smith (1.5) – while DeSimone and Ferguson are ninth in the Ivy League in ground balls with 2.5.
Yale is no slouch defensively, boasting the nation’s top defense while allowing 6.8 goals-per-game this season. Dating back to the final game of 2013 the Bulldogs have not more than eight goals to an opponent. Goalkeeper Erin McMullan is second in the Ivy League in goals-against average (6.80) and fourth in save percentage (.460) to begin her senior season. She is also eighth in the League in ground balls-per-game at 2.60. Teammate Adrienne Tarver is fourth among Ivy player in that category with 2.8 ground balls-per-game.
Yale has dominated on the draw control this season, with Nicole Daniggelis ranking second in the country and first in the Ivy League with 9.0 per game. Overall through five games, the Bulldogs have won 73 draw controls to just 15 by their opponents.
Three players are in double figures in goals for Yale through five games, led by Kerri Fleishhacker who has 13. Daniggelis (11) and Tess McEvoy (10) are the other Bulldogs with 10 or more goals this season. Senior Jen DeVito leads the Ivy League in total points with 23 on seven goals and a league-best 16 assists.
The Quakers have won the last nine meetings between the two schools dating back to the 2005 season. During the run, Penn has allowed 5.0 goals-per-game to the Bulldogs while scoring 9.3 as two defensive minded teams continue to do battle. Four of the last nine matchups have seen Penn concede four or fewer goals to the Bulldogs, including a pair of games where Yale managed just two goals.